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I don’t think I’ve ever been as surprised as when I took the first bite of John Legend’s Macaroni and Cheese. See, I didn’t really even know if John Legend could cook and after seeing the method for his recipe, I was even less sure, so I was not expecting much here. But his Macaroni and Cheese recipe turns out to be amazing. Like amazing enough that it might have inspired me to change up my mac and cheese game after making the same recipe over and over for the last twenty years. That amazing.

We made this mac and cheese as a part of our Celebrity Mac and Cheese Recipe Showdown. It’s a fun thing where we take four celebrity recipes — some celebrity chefs, some not so much — cook them, and then taste and compare them to see how they stack up. This match-up included Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, John Legend, and Patti LaBelle. They were all very different and delicious in their own right.

Chef Dom made two of the recipes and I made the other two. While Chef Dom was working on this one, I was honestly thinking, what is happening?! because I had never seen a mac and cheese made like this before. See, I’ve always made bechamel-based mac and cheeses but John Legend’s uses an interesting layering technique.

He has you cook the macaroni and then drain it and toss it with a stick of butter while you heat up evaporated milk, skim milk, and eggs in a pan that you season with seasoned salt, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. The seasoned salt, the butter tossed with the noodles, the sauce with evaporated milk and eggs but no cheese was all new to me. And I definitely wasn’t sure how it would come together.

Here’s how:

You layer the buttered macaroni with the cheese (which is a combo of extra sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack) and you pour that evaporated milk/egg mixture over the whole thing.

And then you top it with paprika. And you bake it, of course.

I was wondering the whole time how the cheese would actually combine with the sauce and if it would really taste like a cohesive mac and cheese. It did all of that and more.

Of all the mac and cheeses we made that day, this was by far our favorite. It was perfectly creamy, had plenty of cheese pulls, and actually tasted like cheese. Nothing else overshadowed that cheese flavor… that was the star here, along with the consistency. And while it might look a little liquidy in our photos, I can promise you that if you let it sit long enough, the consistency is delightful. But sometimes with food photography you have to strike while the iron is hot, literally!

To see how this staked up with the other celebrity mac and cheeses, see our Celebrity Mac and Cheese Recipe Showdown article!

Yield(s): Serves 6-8

10m prep time

45m cook time

Rated 5.0 out of 5
Rated by 2 reviewers

Allergens: Eggs, Milk, Gluten

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  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish
  • 3 cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 (12-ounce each) cans evaporated milk
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 (8-ounce each) packages extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 (8-ounce each) package Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • Paprika, for sprinkling
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously butter a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook to al dente according to package instructions.
  3. Drain and return to pot. Add butter and toss until butter has melted; set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together evaporated milk, skim milk, and eggs. Add seasoned salt, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, then set aside. In another medium bowl, combine cheeses and set aside.
  5. Place 1/3 macaroni in an even layer in the bottom of prepared baking dish, then cover evenly with 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat with remaining macaroni and cheese mixture.
  6. Pour milk mixture evenly over contents of baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika.
  7. Bake until top layer is lightly browned, 35 to 45 minutes. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe from John Legend.</a.